HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 30.04.2019

Apr 30,2019



Cape Verde


  1. CPLP: Cabo Verde proposes 30-day visa-free travel within the community”, Macau Business, April 25, 2019
  • Cabo Verde has proposed 30 days of visa-free travel within the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) for professionals, researchers, and teaching staff.
  • Based on the initial proposal, a final document will be submitted for approval at the next CPLP council of ministers meeting scheduled for May, in the Portuguese capital Lisbon. Portugal’s minister of internal administration, Eduardo Cabrita, said Portugal’s stance was of “total support,” adding that “mobility in the CPLP space is a fundamental step for the affirmation of a sense of community.”




  1. Flor Wang, “Taiwan to grant visa-free treatment for eSwatini nationals”, Focus Taiwan, April 26, 2019
  • Taiwan is to grant visa-free treatment for eSwatini nationals, effective June 1, in an effort to boost bilateral tourism and trade exchanges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced Friday.
  • Nationals of the African diplomatic ally who hold a passport with a validity of at least six months, coupled with accommodation reservations, financial statements and emergency contact information will be able to enter Taiwan for stays of up to 90 days, from the start of June, MOFA said.
  • The move will make eSwatini the latest diplomatic partner of Taiwan after Nauru, Tuvalu and allies in Latin America and the Caribbean to receive the visa-free privilege, it noted.




  1. Victor Juma, “Government freezes travel for officers without digital passports”, Daily Nation, April 26, 2019
  • The government has frozen foreign travel for civil servants without digital passports. In a circular dated April 15 to government institutions, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua cited hitches in processing of visa and entry permits using the machine-readable ones, which are set to expire in September.
  • “Considering that the machine-readable passports will cease to be a valid travel document with effect from September 1, 2019, any machine-readable passport is already outside the 6 months validity period,” Mr Kinyua said in the circular which re-emphasised an earlier one he wrote on September 26, 2018.
  • “To avoid inconveniences that may be occasioned on account of the limited validity period of the machine-readable passports and in observance of the above-mentioned circular, travel clearance should not be issued to officers who do not hold the e-passport.”


  1. Allen Irungu, “No e-passport, no visa: Foreign Affairs ministry says”, Citizen Digital, April 26,2 019
  • The Ministry of foreign affairs has said machine-readable passports will expire on August 31, 2019.
  • The Foreign Affairs PS noted that the Head of Public Service had issued a circular to all public servants which requires them to acquire the new e-passports before the August deadline. He said the ministry will not be in a position to facilitate the issuance of visa to travellers who do not have the electronic passports.
  • The ministry had earlier announced that all Kenyan passport holders will be required to switch to the new document by September 2.




  1. BREAKING: Lagos To Wait As Immigration Starts Issuing 64-Page, 10-Year-Validity Passports In Abuja”, Sahara Reporter, April 29, 2019
  • The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has begun the issuance of the new passport booklets with 10-year validity.
  • “The public are advised not to rush for the new booklet, as the new enhanced passport will run concurrently with the old one,” [Sunday James, Public Relations Officer of the NIS]  said. He said Babandede had directed passport offices at the state commands to continue to issue the old booklet, while only the service headquarters in Abuja would issue the new passport booklet.
  • He specifically said the enhanced polycarbonate booklet with 64 pages will be available in Ikoyi beginning from June 3, Alausa, Lagos from July 8, and London from July 29.




  1. No change in passport fees: RG”, The Herald, April 29, 2019
  • Registrar-General Mr Clement Masango yesterday dismissed social media reports alleging that passport fees are set to be increased soon, saying Government had a well-structured method of conveying such messages.
  • “There have been reports on social media alleging that passport fees will be hiked,” he said. “That is not true. I am concerned as the Registrar- General that some people seem to thrive on creating controversy meant to instil alarm and despondency in society.
  • The reports of a passport fee review coincided with a temporary halt in the issuance of passports due to the technical fault. “The stoppage was as a result of system malfunction,” said Mr Masango. “It was rectified and by Friday afternoon production had resumed. There is, therefore, no need for members of the public to panic.


  1. Leopold Munhende, “Government sits on 200,000 passport applications”, New Zimbabwe, April 29, 2019
  • Government is sitting on some 208,000 passport applications with the Registrar’s General’s office targeting production of 8,000 units per day to deal with the backlog, Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema has said.
  • “The backlog is 208,000 passports, the machine we have can produce around 8,000 per day and we have to get rid of that backlog…our people want to travel, we are moving towards removing the queues you have been seeing.”
  • Mathema shared government plans to decentralise issuance official documents indicating his Ministry would establish satellite offices in Bindura and Chitungwiza.






  1. Visa Waiver Leads to Substantial Spike in Tourist Arrivals”, The Rio Times, April 24, 2019
  • Brazil’s visa waiver program announced in March is already generating positive results.
  • Recent data from a study done by Amadeus Group shows a significant increase in the number of reservations made in the United States, as well as in Canada, Japan and Australia, the other three other countries benefiting from the new policy. Amadeus is one of the 10 largest technology companies in the world and one of the three largest in the travel segment.
  • In the United States, the increase was 53 percent in the number of trips confirmed for June and 97 percent for July compared to the same period of last year. In Canada, growth was 86 percent for June, 54 percent for July and, expressive, 135 percent for August this year.




  1. Cillian O’Brien, “Immigrant-owned firms create more jobs than those with Canadian-born owners: StatCan”, CTV News, April 24, 2019
  • The decade-long research, released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, distinguishes between firms owned by immigrants who entered Canada since 1980 and businesses with Canadian-born owners. During the period of the study, 2003 to 2013, companies owned by immigrant entrepreneurs accounted for a quarter of all net new jobs created in the private sector, while representing just 17 per cent of firms.
  •  “But most or all of this gap was due to differences in the characteristics of the firms. Most notably, immigrant-owned firms were younger, and younger firms are more dynamic regarding job creation.” More than three-quarters of the immigrant-owned firms were less than 10 years old, compared with just over half of those run by someone born in Canada. Earlier research has shown that younger firms grow faster and create jobs at a higher rate than older firms, the study authors wrote.


  1. Ayan Pramanik, “Canada trumps US, opens H-1B doors to Indians”, The Economic Times, April 24, 2019
  • The Canadian government has adopted a programme called Global Skills Strategy in 2017, which has set a target to welcome 3,10,000 new permanent residents in 2018 and 3,30,000 in 2019. According to a report called ‘Building a Nation of Innovators’ by the Canadian government, 40,833 jobs and 3,625 applications have been approved for high-skilled immigrants as of November 2018.
  • Canada is also luring highly-skilled professionals with potential citizenship in three years, whereas Indians have to wait as much as a decade for a green card in the US.
  • Analysts, however, said remuneration packages in Canada are lower compared to the US, but the path to citizenship is faster. There is an increasing trend of tech talent movement to Canada as the immigration process is much more predictable there, said Poorvi Chothani, managing partner, LawQuest.






  1. Indian embassy passport services go online after April 25”, The Peninsula, April 22, 2019
  • Embassy of India, Qatar, has announced that it’s stopping to receive applications of various passport-related services in the “old format” as part of the services’ integration with the Passport Seva Project.
  • “Passport/PCC/EC applications in the old format will be accepted by the Embassy only till 25 April 2019,” the embassy said.




  1. Visa on arrival requirements from China, India tourists may be relaxed”, Malaysiakini, April 23, 2019
  • The Visa On Arrival (VOA) requirements for tourists from China and India may be relaxed in a bid to increase the number of visitors from the two countries in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2020.
  • Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi said the move might be implemented this year, but he did not specify which of the requirements would be relaxed. “Yes (maybe relax the requirements), I don’t see any problem with that. We are looking for more tourists, so we need to be lenient.
  • Earlier, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) urged the government to provide visa-free travel access to tourists from China and India to boost the country’s tourism industry.




  1. Aarti Nagraj, “UAE citizens exempted from pre-entry visas to visit Mongolia”, Gulf Business, April 25, 2019
  • UAE citizens will not require pre-entry visas to visit Mongolia from May 15, it was announced on Wednesday.
  • The move comes under a visa-waiver granted by the Mongolian government, official news agency WAM quoted the UAE’s ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as saying. The decision will cover Emirati citizens carrying all types of passports, and grant them a maximum stay of 30 days upon their entry.




  1. Govt notifies visa on arrival facility for 48 countries”, Pakistan Today, April 27, 2019
  • The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Saturday notified a new visa policy under which nationals of as many as 48 countries will be able to get visa on arrival facility. According to a notification issued by the ministry, the new visa policy came into effect from April 15.
  • Under the policy, visa requirements have been relaxed for 48 countries, including Brazil, Germany, Iran, Malaysia, Russia, Turkey, China, Sri Lanka, Australia, and Denmark. Whereas, India, the United States, the United Kingdom and Afghanistan won’t be able to benefit from the new visa policy. The visa will be granted for a period of three months initially.
  • Citizens of 48 countries will be able to benefit from the visa on arrival facility. Besides, diplomats of 12 countries will also be able to avail the facility. Diplomats and government passport holders of 31 countries can also benefit from the new visa policy.




  1. Qatar Announces Visa Center in Nepal, Promises of Bearing Migrants’ Expenses”, Nepali Sansar, April 23, 2019
  • The Government of Qatar made a new announcement that will provide respite to Nepali migrants! In a recent move, the Qatar Government said its new facility in Nepal will bear all the test and contract related expenses of Nepali migrants.
  • Nepal Foreign Ministry (MoFA) informed that the Qatar Government has sent a letter on April 7, 2019 to Nepal Government confirming about the establishment of its visa center in Nepal. In the letter, the Qatar Government said this decision will relieve the Nepali migrants from paying additional budgets.
  • Despite the letter, the visa center establishment is getting delayed due to some objections raised by the Labor Ministry on the issue of additional expenses.


Sri Lanka


  1. Sri Lanka halts low season visa-free plan after bombings”, Jakarta Post, April 26, 2019
  • "Although arrangements were in place to issue visas on arrival for citizens of 39 countries, we have now decided to hold it for the time being in consideration of the current security situation," Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said in a statement. "Investigations have revealed foreign links to the (Easter) attacks and we don't want this programme to be abused."
  • Sri Lanka had announced last month a plan to allow visa-free entry to tourists from 39 countries, including EU members, Australia and the United States, during the low season, from May 1.




  1. Cabinet to waive visa on arrival fee until October”, The Nation, April 25, 2019
  • Thailand’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved the extension of the waiver of the fee for visa on arrival for some foreign tourists to Thailand. The waiver of the Bt2,000 VOA fee will be extended from May 1 to October 31.
  • The fee had previously been waived until January 14 in a bid to boost tourism. It was then extended until April 30 and has now been extended again. Waiving the VOA fee had reportedly helped increase foreign visitor numbers.
  • VOA is available to tourists from 21 countries and regions, including China and India.






  1. Gordon Watson, “Malta would be in deficit without the IIP – PD”, Newsbook, April 24, 2019
  • Partit Demokratiku argues that based on the assessments of the country’s economic surplus, if it was not for Malta’s Individual Investor Programme the country would have a deficit.
  • While responding welcomingly to the cautiousness of the Finance Minister’s economic outlook, PD state that the economic surplus which is recorded to be above €250m (€251.5m) last year, this is before interest and capital expenditure are included. They state that this means that country’s deficit for 2018 accounts for €70.2m.
  • ‘Malta is clearly exposed after reductions of IIP coupled with the fact of an eventual, inevitable slow-down in economy. It is not easy for government to reduce recurrent expenditure in the short-term, so a future significant growth will be worrying. We have an unsustainable economy,’ PD leader Godfrey Farrugia explains.




  1. Mohammad Ali, “Russia Authorizes Visa-Free Travel For EEF-2019 Attendees From September 1-10”, Urdo Point, April 22, 2019
  • The foreign attendees of the fifth edition of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), which will take place in Russia's Vladivostok in early September, will be allowed to enter the country without visas from September 1-10, a Russian governmental decree said on Monday.
  • This year's EEF, which will be held from September 4-6, is expected to focus on the national program for the Far East's development. According to Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, he will provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with a plan for the Far East's development until 2025 during the conference.


  1. Putin Says Russia May Offer Fast-Tracked Passports to All Ukrainians”, The Moscow Times, April 27, 2019
  • President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday Moscow was considering offering all Ukrainian citizens fast-tracked Russian passports, a move likely to anger some politicians in Ukraine which has been at war with pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
  • Putin made the statement days after signing an order to simplify the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, prompting calls from Kiev for more international sanctions.
  • Putin's earlier move was seen as a test for the Ukrainian president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who won a landslide victory in Sunday's presidential election and has pledged to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.


  1. Russia Opens First Center To Issue Russian Passports to East Ukrainians”, The Moscow Times, April 30, 2019
  • Russia has opened its first center aimed at issuing Russian passports to residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, Interfax reported on Monday.
  • "Today, the center begins work in a test mode. We are now accepting documents from people living in the Luhansk People’s Republic. As the number of requests grows, we will increase the number of such centers," Kirill Alzimov, a representative of the Interior Ministry’s migration department, told Interfax.
  • According to Alzimov, the center, located in Russia’s Southern Federal District bordering Ukraine, can accept up to 200 applications per day. Residents of the unrecognized Luhansk People’s Republic will be able to apply for Russian citizenship without obtaining a temporary residence permit, he added.


United Kingdom


  1. Alex Temblador, “Heathrow to Introduce Biggest Facial Recognition Technology in the World”, Travel Pulse, April 27, 2019
  • Travelers flying out of Heathrow Airport can leave their passports and boarding passes in their bags this summer, as the airport is introducing facial recognition technology that doesn’t require it.
  • In what they're calling the largest biometric technology rollout in the world, Heathrow is undergoing a £50million project that will install facial recognition technology at check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates in an effort to make the travel experience more seamless.
  • This new technology is expected to reduce an average passenger’s time from check-in to take-off by up to one-third.
  • Travelers who feel uncomfortable using the technology can choose to opt out.




  1. Pavel Polityuk, “Ukrainians will reject Putin’s passport offer: President-elect”, Reuters, April 28, 2019
  • “Ukraine’s difference, in particular, is in the fact that we, Ukrainians, have freedom of speech in our country, free media, and Internet,” [Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy] said on Facebook. “We will provide Ukrainian citizenship to representatives of all peoples who suffer from authoritarian and corrupt regimes. In the first place - the Russians, who today suffer probably the most,” he added.
  • Five years of war between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed forces have killed 13,000 people despite a notional ceasefire signed in 2015.
  • Zelenskiy said he was ready for talks but he warned Russia against trying to speak with Ukraine and Ukrainians “in the language of threats, military and economic pressure”. “This is not the best path to ceasefire and unblocking the Minsk process,” he said.




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